One simple mistake or a potential oversight could end with your green card expiring before you can renew it. But just because it expires does not necessarily mean you can never renew it again.
However, you must take immediate action the second you realize that your green card’s validity has lapsed. What exactly should you do?
Applying after expiration
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services discusses how to replace or renew your green card. First, you need an I-90 form in order to renew a green card, whether still valid or expired. The form needs to get filled out fully and correctly, or it may face rejection. Simply failing to fill this form out the right way is a big reason many renewal applications get turned down.
A card will still expire on its expiry date even if the application for renewal got submitted before then. But the USCIS will continue to process the application and you can remain a lawful resident while the application still remains pending.
What if you were out of the country?
If you were out of the country at the time of the green card’s expiration, it might still be applicable for renewal. But if you spent over 12 months out of the country during this period of absence, then the USCIS could potentially deny your application on those grounds.
Of course, the length a green card lasts can vary wildly. Some may last as little as two years while others can last up to ten. Keeping track of your unique card’s deadlines will help you prepare with enough time and no risk of the card expiring before or during the renewal process.